Earlier in the week, I had butterflied a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turned them into chicken fingers along with the tenders from 6 breasts. Coated in a simple home made version of ‘Shake’n’Bake’ using regular dried breadcrumbs and baked in the oven, they were delicious. But … I had a craving.
A craving for chicken katsu.
A thin cutlet of chicken breast, floured, egg washed and dipped in Panko. And FRIED!!
So that’s what I did late Friday evening with the 2 chicken cutlets that I had set aside. One was a bit too thick and uneven but I didn’t bother pounding it down so it would be even. Cause it was late enough that I just didn’t care.
The next day, I served it in one of my sushi bowls over hot sushi rice. Even though the crust had lost a lot of its crunch, it was still good. And worth frying.
No Japanese beer but the Moroccan mint iced tea was lovely.
Chicken Katsu Curry Donburi – serves 1
1 serving of hot cooked sushi rice
1 serving of Japanese curry
1 chicken katsu, sliced on the diagonal in 1/2 inch strips
Tonkatsu sauce (Bulldog brand isn’t bad)
garnish with ~1 tbsp thinly sliced green onion
Chicken Katsu – serves 4
4 chicken cutlets, thinly sliced and pounded 1/4 inch thick
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp cold water
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper as needed
2-3 cups vegetable oil
Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on each side
Place the flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs each in their own large and relatively flat bowls
Dip each cutlet first in the flour, shaking off the excess, and coating each side. Then dip each side of the cutlet in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off. Finally, coat the egged cutlets in the Panko bread crumbs, pressing the Panko into the cutlet so it will stick.
In a large cast iron skillet add enough vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2-3/4 inch. Heat the oil to 350 deg. Fahrenheit (medium-high on an electric stove if you don’t have a deep frying thermometer). Add a couple of cutlets at a time and fry until they’re a golden brown colour (5-7 minutes), turn and repeat.
Drain on a cooling rack set over a plate with several layers of paper toweling to absorb the oil. Do not place the cutlets directly on the paper towels as the crust will get soggy and you want a nice crunchy crust.
Japanese Vegetable** Curry – serves 4
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into roughly 1/2 inch chunks
1-2 cloves garlic, finely mince
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 cups water
pinch or two of coarse sea or kosher salt
1 package of curry paste (Glico brand is my favourite and the $1.99 it costs is worth it for the convenience)
** If you want a meat curry, cut chunks of chicken, pork or beef into bite sized pieces and brown in the oil before adding the onions. About half a pound of meat is plenty. For a tougher cut of meat, like the beef, you may want to simmer the meat for 10-20 minutes before adding the vegetables so they don’t get too mushy.
In a large saute pan, stir fry the onions over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until tender and getting browned. Add the garlic, salt, carrot and potato chunks and stir fry for another few minutes.
Add 2 cups of water (you may need more to just cover the vegetables) and bring the water to a boil. Cover with the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat and take the saute pan off the burner. Break up the cubes of curry paste and stir into the vegetable mixture. The residual heat will help dissolve the cubes and thicken the mixture. When the cubes are completely dissolved, put the lid on and let the curry sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Serve hot with rice, pasta or bread.